WASHINGTON, June 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Today, the First Liberty Institute appealed an IRS ruling denying tax-exempt status to Christians Engaged, a nonprofit that exists to educate and empower Christians to pray for our nation and elected officials, vote, and be engaged citizens. In a letter published in May, the IRS argued that committed Christians were not eligible for 501 (c) (3) status in part because “[B]The ibles teachings are generally affiliated with the [Republican] party and candidates.
You can read the IRS denial letter here.
Today’s appeal letter is available here.
“The IRS declares in an official letter that Biblical values are exclusively Republican. This could be news for President Biden, who is often described as basing his political ideology on his religious beliefs, ”said Lea Patterson, advisor to the First Liberty Institute. “Only a politicized IRS could see Americans who pray for their nation, vote in every election, and work to involve others in the political process as a threat. The IRS violated its own regulations by denying tax-exempt status because committed Christians teach biblical values.
Christians Engaged President Bunni Pounds said: “We just want to encourage more people to vote and participate in the political process. How can anyone be against this?
Christians Engaged was incorporated in July 2019 as a Texas nonprofit “formed exclusively for charitable, religious, educational or scientific purposes.” From a religious perspective, Christians Engaged provides non-partisan religious and civic education, focusing on encouraging and educating Christians to become civically engaged as part of their religious practice. Christians Engaged applied for tax-exempt status at the end of 2019. On May 18, 2021, Stephen A. Martin, director of exempt organizations at the IRS, denied the request, saying committed Christians “commit[s] in the intervention of a prohibited political campaign ”and“ to operate[s] for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interests of the [Republican] Party.”
In its administrative appeal letter, First Liberty states: “In finding that Christians Engaged does not pass the operational test, Director Martin is wrong in three ways: 1) he invents a non-existent requirement that exempt organizations be neutral on public policy issues; 2) he erroneously concludes that Christians Engaged serves primarily for private and non-exempt purposes rather than for exempt public purposes, as he believes his beliefs overlap with the political positions of the Republican Party; and 3) it violates the freedom of speech, exercise and establishment clauses of the First Amendment by engaging in both point of view and religious discrimination.
About the First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is the nation’s largest legal organization dedicated exclusively to the defense of religious freedom for all Americans.
To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at [email protected] or by calling 972-941-4453.
Contact: Lacey McNiel, [email protected]